Central Illinois Tech Triangle Review from University of Illinois Students

Posted On 12/13/2022 By admin

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Full Report from University of Illinois Gies Student Team:

Refer to the The Central Illinois Tech Triangle and the Final Presentation Deck


Executive Summary

Due to a variety of factors including population loss, companies leaving the area, and debt, Central Illinois has experienced economic stagnation over the past several years. Thus, what steps can we take to connect shareholders in the region (cities, towns, small businesses, large companies, etc.) to spur economic development in the region?

Solution Summary

Our team hopes to increase collaboration between cities in Central Illinois by developing a resource guide that summarizes the details of the economic stagnation within Central Illinois, the assets in the region, resources that can be utilized to encourage economic development, and a call to action. We suggest that this resource guide be shared with various individuals such as politicians, community leaders, economic development organizations, etc., to gain support for this cause.


To tackle the central problem, we began by seeking to understand what past efforts have been made to resolve this issue as well as any other relevant information about Central Illinois. Thus, we spoke with the Assistant Dean and Program Leader of Community and Economic Development at the University of Illinois Extension. She provided extensive information about organizations that have goals related to combating economic stagnation in Illinois and provided us with contacts to reach out to. We also reached out to the Director of Rural Outreach and Development at the Peoria Economic Development Council to understand the process of receiving funding from the government for economic development initiatives and the opportunities that exist for areas within and around the Peoria Economic Development District. Additionally, we conducted extensive secondary research on assets within Central Illinois in a variety of industries including agriculture, transportation and logistics, and healthcare. Lastly, we investigated resources that can support economic development such as funding opportunities.

Analysis and Insights

From our interview findings with economic development experts, we determined that the original scope of our project was too wide. We also learned that there are several existing organizations that share similar goals with our client. Thus, we pivoted our project, previously a strategic plan for the creation of a marketing and public relations organization for Central Illinois, to focus on building a connection between shareholders. From there we worked with our client to outline a new final deliverable along the lines of a resource guide that could be used to convince shareholders to support such an organization. Based on our secondary research into economic stagnation in Central Illinois, we finalized a couple of major factors contributing to the problem, including companies leaving the area, population loss, and debt. From our research into the technological capabilities of Central Illinois, we found that each region within Central Illinois has different strengths, so we organized our information by region to better visualize where the assets are located. From our research into key resources, we found that there are funding

opportunities available, but it may be most useful to collaborate with existing organizations to maximize the financial support that can be received for this initiative.


Our recommendation for our client is to leverage Central Illinois assets and encourage collaboration amongst existing organizations to spur economic development. Specifically, we recommend that our client utilize the resource guide that we have compiled to raise awareness of the problem and the assets and resources that can be used to solve it. We believe that by raising awareness, collaboration between regions will increase and greater support will be gained. These recommendations are based on our interview with the Assistant Dean and Program Leader of Community and Economic Development at the University of Illinois Extension, who identified several existing organizations with similar goals with our client and suggested that it may be more effective to connect these organizations rather than working to create an entirely new one. Additionally, these recommendations are supported by our insights from our interview with the Director of Rural Outreach and Development at the Peoria Economic Development Council, who explained that the government is often more willing to provide support for initiatives that have a wider scope and potential impact. After gaining support from organizations to combat economic stagnation in Central Illinois, we recommend that our client create a council of leaders consisting of these various organizations and towns. With this council, the major cities and smaller towns can utilize each other’s resources, as well as Greater Peoria’s connection to federal funding, to boost the economy. This recommendation is supported by our research into the vast array of assets and organizations that exist in different regions within Central Illinois. Each region houses different types of assets and organizations and thus provides different types of value to Central Illinois. Thus, it will be helpful for the council to consist of leaders from various regions to increase the strength and diversity of the council.

Implementation Considerations

  • Our client should begin by reaching out to several organizations and city leaders to gain support for action to be taken to combat economic stagnation in Central Illinois.
  • After gaining support, our client should get representatives from these organizations to sit on a council who will work together to resolve this problem.
  • There may be resistance to this idea as some believe the state should take the initiative on this development of Central Illinois.
  • Our client needs to consider how and with whom he will share this resource guide to ensure that the information is spread equally throughout all the regions in Central Illinois.
  • Sending a mass email to various individuals with the resource guide may not be the most effective. Moreover, it is important to consider that even if someone receives the resource guide, there is no guarantee they will read it. To combat this problem, our client could set up meetings rather than send the information via email.
  • This resource guide will allow our client to distribute information to politicians and community leaders in hopes of increasing interest in the economic problems within Central Illinois. However, our client may face difficulty in finding parties willing to invest time and resources into this endeavor.


Our client will be able to effectively and efficiently communicate with individuals and organizations that share his vision through our resource guide. The comprehensive resource guide consolidates the assets and resources of Central Illinois. Those who were not in communication with him or were unaware of the issue will have this information at their disposal.

This resource guide details the value, feasibility, and need for the Central Illinois Tech Triangle, thus it will aid in increasing both public and private support for its creation.

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